t was the first recording I ever bought," said Shaun Cassidy of the Crystals' "Da Doo Ron Ron," a 1963 classic produced by Phil Spector. "When I was going to kindergarten and the first grade, the bus driver was always playing KHJ, Los Angeles' biggest top 40 station. The '60s music is where I've come from."
Born September 27, 1959, in Los Angeles, Shaun first tasted road life when he was six months old. He travelled with his singer/actor parents, Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy. What fine points of show business they didn't teach the youngster, his half-brother David did.
Music became a refuge for a sensitive 11-year-old stuck in a Pennsylvania boarding school. "I hated it," he said years later. "Every night after dinner, I'd go into the music room, lock myself up with the piano and write songs about home and girls and things." At 13, his precocity surfaced in his first rock band, Longfellow. When he came back home to finish his education at Beverly Hills High School, he had another band, the Beverly Hills Brats.
An audition for Mike Curb landed 16-year-old Cassidy a Warner/Curb recording contract. Released initially in Europe and Australia, his debut album, Shaun Cassidy, yielded Top 10 hits with "Morning Girl" and "That's Rock and Roll." The international success brought no immediate financial rewards. "All the money from the foreign sales was just enough to cover the cost of recording and promotion, so I didn't have any money. It was Christmas time and I needed to buy presents. So I got a job at Saks Fifth Avenue department store. I was an international star with a major recording contract, wrapping Christmas presents for pocket money."
"Da Doo Ron Ron" entered the Hot 100 at number 89 on May 14, 1977, and went to number one nine weeks later. It followed the Partridge Family's number one record by six years and seven months, making Shirley Jones and Shaun Cassidy the only mother-son combination to both have number one singles.
Two more Top 10 hits followed: the American release of "That's Rock 'n' Roll" (number three) and "Hey Deanie" (number seven), both written by Eric Carmen. Cassidy continued his acting career, starring in the Breaking Away series after three years of The Hardy Boys. Critics lauded Shaun's portrayal of a retarded youth in the 1979 television movie Like Normal People. "It was nice to finally find out I was an actor," he declared. "I had to test myself, to push myself, because it's real easy to get comfortable in a mold."
In 1987, Cassidy was cast in ABC-TV's General Hospital as drifter Dusty Walker. The 28-year-old actor was no longer playing a teenager. "I'm too old," Cassidy said. "You can't go home again."
- Fred Bronson, The Billboard Book of Number One Hits, Billboard, 1988.
Main Page | Additional Singles Intro | Singles By Month | Seventies Almanac | Search The RockSite/The Web